Can the Measles Virus Help Mesothelioma Prognosis?

June 17, 2014 - Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. It typically affects the tissues lining the heart, abdomen, or lungs. Mesothelioma is currently the subject of a clinical trial by Mayo Clinic investigators. The trial uses a converted measles virus to carry radioactive iodine to targeted mesothelioma tumor cells. According to Dr. Tobias Peikert, the lead researcher in the trial, the use of the measles virus is particularly interesting in the treatment of cancers. In an interview with the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, Dr. Peikert stated that the idea of using this virus to treat cancer came about mostly by accident. Scientists noticed that when people with cancer became ill with measles, their cancer nearly or completely disappeared. This phenomenon led to the measles virus being used for the treatment of lymphoma and other hematologic cancers. The Phase 1 goal of the Mayo Clinic trial is to determine the level of toxicity of the treatment and to establish the optimal dose. This trial has enrolled a number of people diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Patients enrolled in the trial are being treated with varying doses of localized measles virus therapy. The trial investigators expect that the direct application of the vaccine strain of the measles virus will only infect and kill cancer cells and spare normal, healthy cells in the body. They also expect that the virus will trigger an immune response, which will kill even more cancer cells. A primary goal for this clinical trial is to determine the right dose and frequency for the treatment. A secondary goal is to study adverse side effects of the treatment and assign standard toxicity grading. After completing the treatments in the clinical trial, enrolled patients will be followed up with every three to six months for five years. Reference: Previous: Four “Musts” When Living With Mesothelioma: Advocate for Yourself Next: Clinical Trial Gives Mesothelioma Patient 5 More Happy Years